Cheers and Jeers

Cheers to an impressive run by the RiverView Bed Races, a longtime Thursday evening staple during Ox Cart Days

    While everyone is marveling over the massive event and activity schedule for the 2018 Ox Cart Days Festival, which will commence in less than two weeks, there is one longtime event missing: The RiverView Bed Races.

    After 20 years, the bed races that had people lining Ash Street on Thursday evening during the community’s annual summer festival are no longer. This year’s signature Thursday evening event will feature a “Megajump BMX Stunt Show,” which certainly sounds thrilling in its own right.

    But the RiverView Bed Races, they provided plenty of thrills over the years, especially in their earliest years.

    Back in those days, teams that competed had to provide their own bed, which certainly kept things interesting. Some beds, to say the least, were sturdier than others, and certainly rolled faster, smoother and straighter when pushed at a rapid pace by competitors up and down Ash Street.

    But other beds, no matter how strong and fast the human competitors were, were simply not up to the demands of the race. Some wheels fell off, and a couple of beds veered from their path and crashed into and up and over the curb. It led to race organizers to require race watchers, especially the kids, to not sit on the curb, in case another bed went awry.

    Soon, the rules were changed, and RiverView provided the beds for the races, which were all the same, and sturdy and safe. While it increased the safety factor, over the years the race results became a bit predictable, with the beds pushed by the youngest, strongest and fastest competitors typically out-performing the competition.

    Still, through it all, over two decades, the RiverView Bed Races still helped draw a nice Ox Cart Days Thursday evening crowd downtown.

    So cheers to that, and here’s a fond farewell to the bed races.

– Mike Christopherson, managing editor

Jeers to the Eiffel Tower management

    It’s the peak of Eiffel Tower visitation season, but the famous Paris landmark is not open to tourists. The tower’s workers went on strike today, and the strike may continue until the issue is resolved.

    The problem stems from management’s decision to increase the number of available advanced booking tickets from 20 percent to 50 percent.

    One elevator to the top is solely for the use of those who do not have reservations, and the other is for those that do.

    The increase in tickets has resulted in a problem where, in non-peak hours, the elevator for people with reserved tickets goes up partially full while there is still a long line at the other elevator. This has resulted in huge lines, sometimes three hours long, and problems with elderly people fainting.

    The workers are exhausted and do not want to deal with the same difficulties in August, so they have gone on strike, forcing the tower to close.

    As the employees are obligated to deal with the repercussions of management’s decisions for optimum ticket sales, they deserve a chance to argue what they think is right for the tower, as they are the ones who deal with the tower’s lines every day.

    The tower’s closure is a tragedy for tourists, but the workers deserve a say in the way that the tower is run.     

Let’s hope the tower opens up again, with a plan that the employees and management are happy with.
– Maddie Everett, intern